.- Critical reaction to Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebeliusâ nomination as Secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services continued as one Kansas pro-life leader accused her of doing nothing to help the unborn. He also accused her defenders of engaging in âdeceptionâ and âpropaganda.â
On Saturday evening it was announced that Gov. Sebelius, a Democrat, had accepted the nomination to President Barack Obamaâs Cabinet.
Archbishop of Kansas City Joseph Naumann in 2008 met with the governor to discuss her support for abortion. He asked her to refrain from receiving Communion until she makes a worthy confession and publicly repudiates her stand on abortion.
The governor in 2007 hosted late-term abortionist Dr. George Tiller at the governorâs mansion in an event he purchased as part of a fundraising auction sponsored by the Womenâs Political Caucus, a pro-abortion ârightsâ group.
Andrea Lafferty, Executive Director, Traditional Values Coalition, criticized the governor in a statement before her nomination was announced.
âSebelius has stated that sheâs worked to keep abortions rare and safe, but this is false. She has done everything in her power to protect the notorious late-term abortionist George Tiller and Planned Parenthood from prosecution for felony crimes! In 2007, she vetoed a bill requiring explicit medical reasons for a late abortion, vetoed legislation that would have saved the lives of babies who were victims of botched abortions, and she vetoed other pro-life legislation in 2006, 2005 and 2003.â
Lafferty argued Sebeliusâ hosting dinner for Tiller showed âincredibly poor judgment.â
âNo political group should be able to use a taxpayer-owned Governorâs residence as the hook for any organizationâs fundraising,â she said.
Tom McClusky, Senior Vice President, Family Research Council, also writing before the announcement of Sebeliusâ nomination, characterized the governor as a âclose ally of abortionistsâ and said her record âleaves no doubt she will be a strong advocate for abortion disguised as âhealth careâ.â
âWhile a state representative, Mrs. Sebelius fought continually against parental notification, abortion waiting periods, and informed consent. As governor she twice vetoed abortion clinic regulation legislation and also a bill seeking to curb late-term abortions.â
McClusky said a Sebelius appointment would be an open declaration of âwar upon the millions of Americans who support life.â
The group Catholics United has defended Sebeliusâ nomination.
"Gov. Sebelius is a proven and tireless advocate for children's health care, education, adoption, and support for pregnant women, all components of a public policy agenda intended to benefit the common good. Under her leadership, the state of Kansas has witnessed sharp declines in both abortions and teen pregnancy," said Chris Korzen, executive director of Catholics United, according to The Hill.
A Sunday statement from Catholics United presented 25 Catholic leaders, scholars and theologians who said they supported Sebeliusâ nomination âas Catholics.â
According to Catholics United, signers of the statement included Ambassador Elizabeth Frawley Bagley, former ambassador to Portugal; Nicholas Cafardi, the former dean of the Duquesne University Law School; Fr. Thomas Reese, SJ, former editor of America magazine; Prof. Doug Kmiec of Pepperdine Universityâs School of Law; Dr. Patrick Whelan, President of Catholic Democrats; and Margaret OâBrien Steinfels, former editor of Commonweal magazine and co-director of Fordham University 's Center on Religion and Culture.
âGovernor Sebelius is a woman of deep faith with a proud family history of public service,â the statement said.
âKathleen Sebelius has made clear that she agrees with church teaching that abortion is wrong and has lived and acted according to that belief,â the statement claimed.
It did not explicitly mention Archbishop Naumannâs criticisms of the governor, referring to âdisagreements over public policy with leaders in her Church.â
The statement praised the governorâs support for funding services for pregnant women and abortion alternatives, her support of a law including unborn children as murder victims, and her support for an adoption tax credit.
It also credited Gov. Sebeliusâ efforts for causing a decline in the abortion rate.
However, Kansans for Life State Development Director David Gittrich cast doubt on this defense of Sebeliusâ nomination in a Monday phone interview with CNA.
âItâs a disappointment that the person who is probably the most pro-abortion person in the U.S. is now going to be in charge of Health and Human Services,â he said.
Decrying a situation where the person in charge of health care âbelieves that killing is health care,â he argued âanybody who thinks that killing is a solution to health care problems should never be running health care.â
Responding to Catholics Unitedâs defense of Sebelius, Gittrich said:
âThey shouldnât even be using the word Catholic. Theyâre not associated with anybody in the Catholic Church. No bishop, no diocese would recognize these people as having anything to do with the Roman Catholic Church.
âTheyâre obviously just a front group from somebody who wants to cover for somebody who supports abortion and make them look like a pro-lifer.â
He accused Sebeliusâ defenders of engaging in âdeception,â describing Catholics Unitedâs defense of Sebelius as âjust propaganda, a bunch of lies.â
According to Gittrich, the governor has ânever voted for pro-life legislation, and never supported any restrictions on abortion whatsoever.â
âShe introduced something very similar to FOCA [the Freedom of Choice Act], which would have encoded abortion with no restrictions on anything, in Kansas law,â he said.
He attributed Kansasâ decline in abortion to the âsignificantâ increase in crisis pregnancy centers and pro-life education efforts which focus on young people.
The decline in the abortion rate âhas nothing to do with the governor,â he claimed. âI canât give Gov. Sebelius credit for one saved baby.â
âAsk Archbishop Naumann, who disciplined Sebelius. Ask him if sheâs doing great things for children.â
CNA also asked Gittrich how Sebeliusâ departure from Kansas might affect the pro-life movement in the state.
âShe was the leader of the liberal left-wing Democrats. They donât have anybody to take her place,â he said.
Gittrich said he was disappointed Kansan voters didnât recognize her âextreme liberal views,â saying the governor was âcunningâ in keeping her views from the public.
âI feel sorry for the people in Washington D.C. and the people of our country.
âPolitically, itâs a good thing sheâs gone. See ya. Donât let the door hit you on the way out.
âIâd be just as thrilled if George Tiller went to Washington, DC.âGittrich told CNA he thought the whole country is in âserious troubleâ because of Sebeliusâ appointment.